Vatican City, Mar 18, 2011 / 09:04 am
Representatives of the Pontifical Council for Culture have confirmed that they will begin the Church's official dialogue with atheists and agnostics in Paris on March 24 and 25. The session will conclude with a broadcast address by Pope Benedict XVI.
The “Courtyard of the Gentiles” will hold its first meeting at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on March 24. The organization's director general Irina Bokova will preside, along with diplomatic and cultural representatives.
On March 25, talks will take place at the Sorbonne University as well as the Institut de France and the College des Bernardins, before moving to the forecourt of the Cathedral of Notre Dame for an open-air event for the public. Large screens will be set up for a broadcast in which Pope Benedict XVI will speak to attendees about the importance of the “Courtyard of the Gentiles.”
The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, explained the nature and purpose of the initiative to reporters on March 18.